Friday, June 25, 2010

My selfish quiet time

We have quiet time at our house every day.  Both of my older children were done with naps before they were two years old.  So, every day after lunch we have "quiet time".  It's not always quiet unless they're watching a video (and sometimes I feel guilty if they just watch a video during quiet time), but it does mean they're supposed to play without mom. In fact, it should probably be more appropriately named "Don't bug mom time".

Frequently, I come out of quiet time and the house is a complete disaster.  I say "come out" because quiet time is when I hide myself in my office and try to work.  If they come in and I have decided quiet time is not over yet, I make them leave the office.  I've even been so stern as to shut the door so they can't come in.  Quiet time lasts for however long I decide it should last.  It's one of the benefits of my children not yet being able to tell time. The baby goes down for a nap right before quiet time starts, so usually as soon as the baby is awake, quiet time is over.

I've found I've become very selfish about my quiet time.  I get annoyed and cranky if I don't get my quiet time.  It's almost like a 2 year old who doesn't get his way. I was at the park the other day with a friend and her children, watching the kids play, and I found myself checking my watch to see what time it was.  Even though we ate lunch at the park and the kids were having a blast, I started getting anxious for my quiet time to start and nervous that the window of opportunity had passed and I wouldn't get any quiet time for the day. I'm wondering if I'll ever get to the point where I can just go to the park and just enjoy it and spend as much time as my kids want without looking at the time. 

I'm a schedule and routine kind of person, so I guess for me it's comforting to know that each day I'll have that alone time when I can spend time away from the kids and not feel like I'm neglecting them.  I guess I need to have a little more sympathy when my 2 year old has his schedule changed or when my 4 year old doesn't get to spend time doing something that just she wants to do.  Or, and I've seriously considered this, maybe I need to start getting up an hour earlier and having my quiet time before they wake up (although I have a feeling I would probably need to start going to bed earlier for that to happen).  When do you have your quiet time?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Potty Language

There's a lot of potty talk that goes on around my house.  You know, things like "you're a poo-poo head" or "you have potty hair".  I'm pretty sure the word "poop" can be used as an adjective, noun, verb, or adverb. Or a proper noun, for that matter.  I was talking with a friend about this the other day, and realized that I am partly to blame for my children's potty-obsessed language.  I spend a large part of my day saying things like "Who's the poopy one?" or "Someone's stinky, who is it?" or "Did you just pee on the floor?" 

You know how in school you used to keep track, while someone was giving a presentation, of how many times they said "ummm"?  I'm thinking I may start tracking how many times the words "poop" or "pee" are mentioned in my house in one day. I think it may be shocking.  Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to change another poopy diaper.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Foreign languages

Here's a conversation I had with my 4 year old tonight:
"How do you say hello in Spanish?"
"How do you say hello in Tongan?"
"Malo e lelei."
"How do you say it in French?"
"How do you say it in English?"
"How do you say it in Texas?"
"Howdy." (I was unaware they spoke a foreign language in Texas. Now I know.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A case of mistaken identity

I'm always calling my children the wrong names.  Luckily they're good at correcting me.  Throughout the day I'll hear the following:
"No, I'm Luke Skywalker".
"I'm Spiderman."
"I'm a princess."
"I'm a ballerina."
"I'm not a pioneer. I'm a cowboy."
"I'm not a good guy. I'm the grabbing monster."
"I'm a baby bamboon". (whatever that is)
"I'm puppy's daddy."

I was wondering what would happen if as an adult I decided to assume different identities throughout the day.  Would it make the day more entertaining? Is that why children aren't as stressed? If they don't like what they are, they just change their identity.  Hmm...maybe tomorrow I'll decide to be Ariel. Think I can pull it off without my husband thinking I've completely lost it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Apparently my mom wasn't exaggerating

My mom used to tell stories about taking all 6 kids to church when my dad was in the bishopric.  She used to say sometimes she never even made it into the chapel.  I had in my mind that she was exaggerating or embellishing the story, as we're so good at doing in my family.  That is, until it happened to me this past Sunday.  Apparently she wasn't exaggerating. 

I walked into the lobby, and my 2 year old started screaming (not just crying).  I thought the tantrum had completed after we got out of the car.  I immediately walked to the back steps outside again, and sat with him for a while.  My 4 year old really wanted to go to church, so I just sent her ahead into the chapel by herself, thinking maybe we could join her in a few minutes.  I guess she went right up to the first row and sat down by herself until her Dad came down and brought her up to the stand to sit with him.  The 2 year old finally stopped screaming and we were able to sit in a chair in the lobby, but he was on the edge of breaking down again when I would try to get up and go into the chapel.  So, I sat in the armchair for all of church with a 2 year old and a 1 year old on my lap.  I never made it into the chapel.  Just one of those times when you're not upset; you are more amazed at what is happening and thinking "I never thought this would happen to me." Thanks for enduring, Mom!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Three cheers (and prayers) for moms of big families

I've gained an even greater appreciation this week for mom's of big families.  I grew up in a family of 6 kids, but that doesn't mean I really appreciate what that meant for my mom.  My sister and her 7 kids just came and stayed with my family for a couple of days.  That means there were 10 kids in my house, with 5 of them under the age of 5.  That's just a lot of kids.

I love my sister and I've always admired what a good job she does as a mom. I've even spent a lot of time at their house.  Until now, though, I don't think I ever fully appreciated what it means to take care of 7 kids every day.  The food, the noise, the drama, the food, the coordination.  I take for granted the fact that with 3 little kids I can decide 5 minutes before lunchtime what we're going to eat for lunch that day.  There's a lot more planning involved (and money) when you have to feed more than twice that many. I have a hard time keeping track sometimes of 3 pairs of shoes, much less 7 pairs.  Granted, when you have that many kids, there are older ones who can be a great help to the younger kids: changing diapers, feeding, dressing, etc.  I admire my older nieces for helping out their mom.

This is just a big shout out to my mom, my mother-in-law, my sister, my cousins, and all my friends out there that somehow manage to care for big families.  You have my utmost respect!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hooray for healthy food choices!

I eat much healthier now that I have kids than I ever did when I was single.  I think I got kind of freaked out when my first child starting eating real food, feeling pressure that somehow whatever she ate in her 2nd year of life was going to determine how healthy she was when she was 80 years old.  When I was single, I ate one thing for a meal, e.g. just mac & cheese (or a Michelina frozen meal).  Fruits and vegetables always went bad before I ate them (except for bananas). When I started feeding my child, I made a goal to have some kind of fruit or vegetable at every meal, even if it was just a cup of orange juice.  Luckily, I was blessed with a first child who really was just born craving healthy foods.  It's never been uncommon for her to turn down junk food. 

Because I try to feed my kids healthier, it means I eat healthier now as well.  I've been trying lately to eat salads for lunches. I'll make something for my kids to eat, and then make a salad with green leaf lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, and maybe ham or kidney beans with ranch dressing for myself to eat.  Apparently my kids have noticed this, because the other day my 4 year old and 2 year old both said, "I want some salad, too."  So, of course, I obliged and gave each of them a little salad to eat.  They didn't eat it all, but I wanted to shout "Hooray"!  It's not always that as a parent you get to "reap" the rewards of trying to teach something to your children.  They may not always ask for salad or want to eat healthy, but I'll take the little steps towards making healthy food choices anytime!

(Now I'll need to make sure they don't see me sneaking a brownie after I eat that salad).

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You mean it's all about the kids, not us?

We took our kids to their first rodeo last night.  My husband and I were both really looking forward to it.  It's been 7 or 8 years since I've been to one, and my husband hasn't been to one since he was probably 11 or 12.  There was a free family fun night beforehand where the kids could do little games and we could eat our picnic dinner.  The kids had a fun time doing several of the little games and winning "prizes" like a helium balloon or new crayons.  By the time the rodeo started it was 6 pm.  Normal bedtime for our kids is 7 pm. 

We sat on the first row, because we didn't know how long they would last. but that meant that anytime someone walked in front of us (which was frequently), we couldn't see what was happening.  The 1 year old couldn't stop squirming and wanted to run around, but there's not much space on bleachers to safely do such a thing.  The two year old wanted to sit on a lap and let his helium balloon on it's long string fly in the faces of the people in the rows behind us.  After about a half hour our 4 year old was asking if she could take a nap. We finally left after about an hour and almost physically restraining our 4 year old to make her stay and watch.

This was one of those moments where you're reminded, once again, as a parent that it's all about the kids, not about you.  If we really wanted to go and just enjoy the rodeo, we should have left the kids home.  If we were going because we wanted our kids to enjoy it and have fun, we probably should have left about 20-30 minutes earlier.  We ended up going back to the family fun party where the 2 year old and 4 year old each got a balloon from the clowns - shaped like a cat and a sword.  I think that was the most memorable part of the night for them.  It was another good reminder of how hard it sometimes is as a parent to be unselfish and do what your child wants to do, rather than what you want to do.